The sacrifices of U.S. service men and women past and present were honored in a “Tribute to Veterans” ceremony at the Tivoli Commons on the Auraria Campus on Veterans Day, Nov. 11.
The ceremony included a processional and color guard presented by the Metropolitan State College ROTC and the Scottish American Military Society. Speakers included University of Colorado Denver Provost Rod Nairn, CU Denver student and Air Force veteran Dennis Mont'Ros and Metropolitan State College President Stephen Jordan. The keynote address was given by Col. Daniel Dant, Commander at Buckley Air Force Base.
About 100 people gathered for the ceremony under sunny skies; ninety red, white and blue balloons were released as a tribute to the 90 Colorado servicemen who’ve died in Afghanistan and Iraq in the past 10 years.
Nairn said it is a privilege to reflect upon the sacrifices made by veterans.
“It’s a very large number of people we owe a huge debt of gratitude to. The history of humanity, of America is filled with these conflicts,” he said. “As we stand here today, thousands of our fellow citizens serve in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many more thousands have lost their lives there as well. So it is today that we make this seemingly small attempt to pay proper tribute to what are inconceivable sacrifices made by our fellow citizens.”
Mont'Ros said he is privileged to be a freshman at CU Denver and that his 20-year Air Force career has made him the man he is today.
“The responsibility of command is so much more difficult and complicated than anything I ever had to face,” Mont'Ros said. “Every day I contemplate veterans, I think of them as brothers.”
Mont'Ros introduced Dant as a superstar in the military. “We gather to recognize our veterans who have sacrificed both in war and in peace to protect our way of life,” Dant said. “... Our men and women in uniform both past and present have been and continue to be the most powerful line of defense in all conflicts against enemies who set out to harm the way of life we so cherish. The strength of our military is the skill of these veterans we're talking about today - those people who have worn the uniform for our nation.”
The event was sponsored by the University of Colorado Denver Veterans Services, Auraria Casa Mayan Heritage, Health Center at Auraria and the Metropolitan State Office of Student Life.